Fancy food and cocktails are great, but sometimes you just want a pitcher of Bud and Tater Tots so greasy you could slick your hair back like Danny Zuko. If you’re afraid to use the restroom after four shots of Wild Turkey, you’re in a dive bar, and we think these are Atlanta’s finest:
Dixie Tavern proudly supports the local music scene with nightly live bands, open mic auditions and karaoke for those looking to sing some Journey between pitchers. While this venue carries local brews like Monday Night and Sweetwater, its selection of bottled classics includes Michelob, Heineken and Coors. Pair your beer with a basket of taters and a cheese steak. Karaoke always sounds better Autotuned. We suggest you try Electric Lemonade, made with vodka, blue curacao, sweet and sour Sprite and lemonade. We’re told you may even catch the Zac Brown Band there.
11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays, 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturdays. 2349 Windy Hill Road S.E., Marietta. 770-690-0090, dixietavern.com.
The Rusty Nail
You know a bar is going to be amazing when it has an 18-foot smoking gun out front. Stroll into the Rusty Nail in a T-shirt and three-day-old jeans and grab yourself a Miller Lite. This smoky juke joint boasts a Cheers-like atmosphere, where everybody knows your name — or will, after you’ve bought that fourth pitcher. Trivia nights Thursdays and Saturdays (just Tuesdays in Sandy Springs) bring in the whiz kids, so put your drinking cap on for a night full of factual fun. Regulars say the barbecue at the Rusty Nail is some of the best in town; hence that big smoking gun out front.
Buford Highway: 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays. 2900 Buford Highway N.E., Atlanta. 404-634-6306. Sandy Springs: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays, noon-2 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays 8549 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 770-992-4009. rustynailpub.com.
When Northside Tavern opened on Atlanta’s westside in 1972, Westside Provisions District wasn’t even a glint in the eyes of developers. More than four decades later, this classic draws thirsty throngs of blues-loving beer drinkers and cash-strapped college kids. Regulars have been going there since their 21st birthday and are now bringing their of-age kids. Blues and roots bands scramble to play the bar’s stage, with acts like the Breeze Kings, Uncle Sugar and Mudcats playing regularly. Come for the music but stay for the PBR, shots of Wild Turkey and people-watching.
10 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 9 p.m.-midnight Sundays. 1058 Howell Mill Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-874-8745, northsidetavern.com.
We love a dive bar that cranks out killer food, offers great brews and pours a stiff drink. The Highlander has been filling bellies and slinging drinks in Midtown since 1992. Walk in to find folks shooting pool, playing video games and fueling up before a movie at the Landmark. We’re fans of the jerk wings and a pitcher of tater tots to pair with a cold beer. While you can grab local brews like Three Taverns IPA, there’s no shortage of PBR. Beer not your thing? Shots of Maker’s Mark or Jack will do the trick. Highlander plays host to local bands and supports local artists, proudly displaying and selling their work on the walls.
11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 12:30 p.m.-midnight Sundays. 931 Monroe Drive N.E., Atlanta. 404-872-0060, thehighlanderatlanta.com.
Euclid Avenue Yacht Club
Only in Little Five Points can you find a dive bar with sharks on the walls, a staff full of friendly hipsters and a mix of college kids, curious onlookers and L5P characters. For more than 25 years, Yacht Club has been packing them in with great food, cool vibes and cheap beer. How cheap? EAYC proudly serves Natty Light for those watching their wallets. Feeling fancy? Throw down a few bucks on a Schlitz tall boy. Pair your can with Brunswick stew and Tater Tots lest you miss out on a little EAYC secret. The pours here are strong, so keep out of the line of dart fire.
3 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays, noon-2:30 a.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon-midnight Sundays. 1136 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-688-2582, theeayc.com.